Joy in Mudville

March 29, 2020

After escaping from Florida (more in the cruise later),  I arrived home to a stack of mail and in it was a copy of Water Craft, a British magazine that is sort of like WoodenBoat, but more oriented for small craft, builders and designers.  When I opened to the contents page THERE WAS TARDIS!

Mark Smaalders wrote an excellent article for their Great Designs secion, and Tardis and Luna were the featured boats in the photo spread that followed.

This really cheered me up in these dreary times, so I wrote this to editor Pete Greenfield:

Dear Pete —

Upon returning from a long cruise in Florida, I was delighted to open my copy of Water Craft and see Mark.Smaalder’s “Grand Design” article on his Olga 28. I built the Olga 28 Tardis shown in the illustrations, the first hull launched. After three years of cruising Tardis, I can say without reservation that in terms of seakeeping, performance and comfort, the Olga 28 fulfills Mark’s expectations brilliantly.

Just last month, I did a 40-mile run in the Gulf of Mexico in three-foot following and quartering seas with no trepidation at all. With a 90 hp Evinrude E-Tec we cruise at 11 knots, burning four gallons of fuel per hour. Tardis can do 18 knots fully loaded if need be, but you can see the fuel gauges dropping at that speed.

The cabin house and raised foredeck make the Tardis surprisingly comfortable. I have spent two months living aboard in Florida each of the past three winters. My wife gets a little antsy after about two weeks aboard, so she commutes back and forth, but I could stay on the boat for months. Dodging the coronavirus during this year’s trip to the west coast of Florida, I spent much of the last two weeks comfortably at anchor, although I did miss having a deck shower, which I plan to add.

Aside from her good looks and performance, I chose the Olga 28 as my retirement project because she can be legally trailered without permits. So we have the boat hauled from our home in New England to Florida for the winter and north to Maine for the summer. The Chesapeake and Intracoastal Waterway are penciled in for 2021. For a builder in the UK, the ability to trailer would easily open up Scotland, the Baltic, the Morbihan, etc.

I am no more than an intermediate-level woodworker, and had to learn fiberglass work (and plumbing and electrical) as I went along, so I spent 4,000 hours building the Tardis. Having the frames and bulkheads cut with a CNC machine would really speed up construction.

When she was launched, I felt building Tardis was one of the great experiences of my life. But cruising her is just as fulfilling.

Thanks for producing such a great magazine, Pete.

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